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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY              319

if, like Pestalozzi, he had been an " intelligent expert" in educa-
tional work. It must not be inferred from this, however, that
Pestalozzi set out with certain borrowed ideas, and worked out
an educational system to correspond. Kant might have done that,
but Pestalozzi's genius was essentially practical. More than with
most educators, his educational theory grew out of his educational
practice, and even at the best it was never more than a very
imperfect expression of what underlay the practice. To under-
stand Pestalozzi, therefore, we must begin with the man and his
work.

Pestalozzi was born at Zurich in Switzerland in 1746. His
father, who was a surgeon, died when he was five years old, and
he owed his upbringing to his mother and a devoted maidservant.
This fact had a decisive influence on his character and on his
view of life. In particular, it led him to a higher appreciation of
the part played by the mother and the life of the home in the early
education of children than had ever been held by any previous
educator. The next great influence came to him at the university
of his native town, where he studied till the age of nineteen. In
the momentous years of adolescence, when under teachers of
revolutionary temper, he read Rousseau's works with avidity.
The Emile, but recently published, made a great impression on
him. " My own visionary tendencies," he said in his Swan Song,
" were stimulated to a pitch of extraordinary enthusiasm when I
read that dream book of his. I compared the education which I
had received at home and at school with that which Rousseau
demanded for Emile, and I felt how wretchedly inadequate it all
had been."* The immediate effect of his reading of Rousseau
was to unsettle all his plans. He had intended^Jp. ente£j:he
mimsiryv but he failed in his first sermon, and gave up the idea
altogether. Then he turned his attention to the law, but he soon
saw that his political opinions would bar all prospectTof advance-
ment, and he abandoned that course also. Then as a direct result
of Rousseau's teaching he bgcag^AJarmer. As it turned out,
he was ill-fitted for fanning, but by a happy chance his failure led
him to his proper life-woiL. He had already made a beginning
with education in the upbringing of his son Jacques, (so named
after Jean Jacques), and, quite in the spirit of the master, he had
kept sT record of Bis observations and experiments. It was the
* Werk* (Seyfiarth), xiv, aoo.